New US embassy opens in what Donald Trump branded 'off location' in London


The new US embassy in London has officially opened days after hitting back at Donald Trump for suggesting its move to a new location was a "bad deal".

The United States president cancelled a visit to the UK to open the new American embassy, criticising its move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to an "off location" at Nine Elms, south of the Thames.

But last week a US embassy spokesman insisted it was completed within its one billion dollar (£730 million) budget and said the plan to finance it was developed in 2007, when George W Bush was in the White House, suggesting Mr Trump was wrong to blame predecessor Barack Obama.

Reports have suggested the president may have called off his trip because he felt he had "not been shown enough love" by the British Government.

But Boris Johnson said he expects Mr Trump would still visit the UK "in due course" and called for a "grown-up conversation" with the American administration.

The Foreign Secretary also criticised Labour's attempts to stop the president visiting Britain as "extremely odd", given the UK's "crucial" relationship with the US.

A man stands next to the Madame Tussauds wax figure of US President Donald Trump outside the new US Embassy in Nine Elms, London (Yui Mok/PA)
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called for a "grown-up conversation" with US president Donald Trump's administration (Yui Mok/PA)

Mr Trump's cancellation of his visit left the Government and City Hall at loggerheads last week as Mr Johnson accused London Mayor Sadiq Khan of endangering the so-called "special relationship".

And the Foreign Secretary, who is attending a two day summit on North Korea in Vancouver, told the Guardian on Monday: "For Jeremy Corbyn to say that this relationship doesn't matter, is I think insanity, and irresponsible. And to try to banish the president of the United States from visiting the UK when he's had trips to France, to Germany, to Japan, to China, is, I think, for the Labour Party extremely odd.

"It's a crucial relationship, and it's a very positive relationship."

It's official! #33NineElmsLane is now OPEN!

-- U.S. Embassy London (@USAinUK) January 16, 2018

On the prospect of a visit from Mr Trump, Mr Johnson said: "I think that we will have a visit in due course."

And he told protesters to "understand that America, for better or worse, in our lifetimes, has incarnated values of liberty and fairness and freedom around the world, and it still does".

Asked whether Mr Trump represents those values, he said: "Let us have a grown-up conversation with our American friends about the things we want to do together."

Time taken for the UK to invite a new US president for a state visit. (PA Graphics)
Time taken for the UK to invite a new US president for a state visit. (PA Graphics)

Mrs May controversially extended the offer of a state visit, officially on behalf of the Queen, when she became the first world leader to meet Mr Trump in the White House following his inauguration last year.

Since then, however, the president has indicated he does not want to take up the invitation if he is going to face mass demonstrations, and it had been expected he could make a low-key working visit rather than a trip which involved all the trappings of a state occasion.